Death X

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Something awakes you and your eyes open slowly. It takes a few seconds to realise you are looking at the bathroom ceiling and are laying on the floor beside the tub. Easily up, you rub your head and face, wondering how you ended up here.

Placing your hands on the cold bathtub, you get to your feet. You notice there’s no water in the tub but there is strange red stains around the plug hole, on the bath’s sides and across the white tiles. Even though it’s smeared, one of the stains on the tiles looks like a hand print….

You turn to the sink. Run the cold tap and splash water on your face. Feeling a little better, you walk into your bedroom. At that point you realise you are naked. Pinging with worry, you snatch a long t-shirt and shorts off your bed and put them on. You listen, wondering if you are still alone in the house.

Hearing nothing, you drift around your room trying to figure out what happened. You decided you must have slipped getting out of the bath. Going to the clock, you look at the time and see it’s past midnight. Four hours have past since you were in the bath.

Something on your desk catches your eyes and you go over. The desk is normally tidy, that’s how you like it, everything put away and organised. It helps you to think clearly. There’s a sheet of notebook paper right in the middle of the desk. Picking it up, you began reading and quickly realise this is a suicide note in your handwriting with blood droplets across it.

How can this be? You managed to say before your head becomes too filled with puzzlement and panic. You try to calm, to take deep breaths. You sink on to the chair and focus on the letter. You notice a date at the top. It was three days ago.

Everything starts to click into place. You recall the bathtub and tiles with the red stains. So it must be true, you decided. However, you can’t remember anything. Re-reading the letter a few times the more you get a feeling that something just isn’t right.

Tap

Laying in the original Victorian bathtub, Deni heard the tapping again. Frowning, she listened hard and tried to pin point where it was coming from, but she just couldn’t do it. The wind was howling crazily outside and rattling the thin old windows, whilst the laughter and cries of the children living below her drifted upwards. A cat meowed somewhere and pop music tickled the air. All of it contributed to create interference to the tapping’s source, Deni realised.

Settling back in the hot water, she let her thoughts drifted and tried not to think about going back to work tomorrow. The weekend had been too short once again and full of being with friends who had settled down into adult life.

‘When are you going to get married?’

‘Have you been looking for a proper house? You really need to get out of that attic bedsit.’

‘Do you actually know what you’re going to call your first child?’

Deni sighed and pulled herself further down into the water, so that she could blew bubbles across the soapy surface. She watched rainbows of colour shimmer across their tops before the bubbles popped. My life is like that, she thought, just one popped dream after another.

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap,

She paused and listening to the tapping, it sounded like someone tapping their fingertips against a wooden surface. Deni pulled herself up and got out of the bathtub, the sudden movement of water splashed around like a small section of the sea trapped between some rocks. Grapping a towel, she wrapped it around herself and slipped on her dressing gown and slippers.

Opening the bathroom door, she listened, but couldn’t hear the tapping anymore. Making a face, she went back, pulled the plug and watched the water swirl away. Picking up another towel, she dried her hair and then went into her bedroom. The wind pressed itself against the large windows crying to be let in. Deni shook her head slightly and turned away. Rain battered the windows behind her, almost as if the wind had become mad at her.

Drying and putting on some fleecy pants and a loose night top, Deni sat on the edge of her bed and brushed her hair.  Digging out her hairdryer from the deep drawers of the dresser, she set it up and turned it on. Her hair was short and took only a few minutes to dry. Getting into bed, Deni thought about the tapping and wondered what was causing it. The noise had been going on for a week or so now and she had half-convinced herself it was only the piping or some other old fixture within the Victorian town house.

Snuggling down, she left the lamp on and dozed off into her thoughts. The tapping woke her a few minutes later. Sitting up, Deni listened to it and realised it was now the only sound she could hear. Getting up, she went to her bedroom door and looked around it into her living room-kitchen space. She could see nothing and there was enough light fliting in from the streetlamps. Putting on her slippers, she left her bedsit and went into the hallway.

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap.

Where’s it coming from? She wondered.

Setting off slowly down the stairs, Deni paused on each of the four floors and listen to the tapping. As she reached the ground floor, she pressed her ear to the door of the landlord’s rooms. The tapping seemed to be coming from there. Deni knocked and waited. When the door opened, she smiled sweetly and launched straight to the problem of the tapping.

After a few puzzled moments, the landlord explained he couldn’t hear anything.

‘Please. You have to do something, find out what it is and stop it. The noise has been districting me for days,’ Deni pleaded.

‘Alright. Come in and see if you can hear it,’ he said gruffly.

Deni thanked him and stepped inside. After a few moments, she could hear anything, but then the tapping started up again.

‘Do you hear that?’ she whispered.

‘Sounds like it’s coming from the basement. Maybe we should go and check it out?’

‘I…don’t know,’ Deni muttered.

‘There’s nothing down there,’ the landlord replied confidently.

Nodding, Deni let him led and together they entered the basement. In the torch beam, the basement seemed empty, expect for the maze of pipes running above their heads. The tapping had stopped as soon as they had entered and after a few minutes of looking about, they had discovered nothing.

Returning back to the hallway, they said goodnight and Deni walked the four sets of stairs back to her room. Getting back into bed, she lay there wondered what the tapping was and when it would start again as there seemed to be no reason behind it. Closing her eyes and dozing off, she wondered if animals were to blame.